USA | Weapons seized from Iran shipped to Ukraine
Defence Redefined
Published on 06/10/2023 at 10:07

Thousands of seized Iranian weapons and ammunition are to be handed over to Ukraine by the Biden administration, in a move that could help fill critical equipment shortages facing its military. Ukraine is awaiting more military assistance from the US and its allies, according to US officials cited in an exclusive report by CNN.

The US Central Command has already transferred over one million seized Iranian munitions to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to CENTCOM itself.

The government took ownership of these munitions on July 20, 2023, through the Justice Department’s civil forfeiture claims against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the release said.

The US Justice Department had announced in March that it was seeking ownership of a million rounds of Iranian ammunition, thousands of fuses, and thousands of kilograms of grenade propellants, which the Navy had seized from Iran while in transit to Yemen.

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The ammunition was being transferred by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to the Houthis in Yemen in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216. The Biden administration has been considering for months how to ship the seized weapons legally, stored at CENTCOM facilities across the Middle East, to the Ukrainians.

The seizures, often carried out jointly with regional partner forces, target small, unflagged vessels on routes traditionally used to smuggle arms to the Houthis in Yemen.

In mid-January, the United States assisted French Forces in seizing 3,000 assault rifles headed from Iran to Yemen as well as 23 anti-tank guided missiles. In two months, the US and its partners seized a total of 5,000 weapons and 1.6 million rounds of ammunition, according to the Central Command.

Officials from the US Departments of Justice and Defence are working together to find a legal route to ship the weapons to Ukraine, while the decision could drive a wedge between Iran and Russia, which have formed a de facto defence partnership in recent months, with Iran supplying Russia with drones for its war in Ukraine and Russia working with Iran in missile and air defence production.

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